Portsmouth's right-back woes show promotion rivals Peterborough are only winners in Nathan Thompson saga

Nathan Thompson celebrates scoring his goal against Sunderland at Wembley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Nathan Thompson celebrates scoring his goal against Sunderland at Wembley. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Nathan Thompson wasn’t a winner as his future was finally secured on Friday.

And Pompey are certainly currently on the debit side when it comes to the way the right-back position has played out across the summer.

The only party to emerge positively as things stand, are one of Pompey’s significant promotion rivals.

And that has to be a frustration as Kenny Jackett desperately searches for a defensive formula which Tuesday night’s events against Coventry showed up for what they currently are.

Peterborough’s delight was palpable in the words expressed by boss Darren Ferguson after being able to unveil the 28-year-old last Friday. 

‘I will be honest and say that I am very surprised we have been able to get him,’ Ferguson said.

‘When he left Portsmouth, he was going to the Championship, but for whatever reason it didn’t come through. I didn’t think I would be able to get a right-back of this magnitude if I am honest.’

The surprise at this end was the manner in which many Pompey fans were happy to wave Thompson off, after 78 appearances and a record-breaking season stamped with his hallmark of dependability and solidity.

Four league games in as the focus sharpens on the new campaign, it’s becoming clear many underestimated his value. 

Not that Pompey could’ve managed the situation any better. Nor can blame particularly be apportioned Thompson for searching for greater financial security.

In many ways that’s the frustration.

Questions could certainly be asked of those advising the man who arrived from Swindon in 2017, however. Because if Thompson had his summer again he’d almost certainly be lining up in royal blue with a new deal signed right now, a Pompey player for the next two seasons at least.

A Championship contract had been intimated by his advisors but never materialised, or perhaps the right man didn’t materialise in the right job to action the move.

Pompey, meanwhile, had their own squad-planning to prepare for leading them to James Bolton, who, after being handed a three-year deal is clearly seen as the future of the position.

The summer silence over Thompson’s future preceded a sheepish return to train at Hilsea two weeks ago with no deal in the bag. 

Those who clamoured for the player to be handed a new Pompey contract did so honestly, but perhaps hadn’t factored in the difficulty of moving on one of the existing options or being left with three right-backs and no budgetary leeway to perhaps add one more new face in a more significant area of the pitch.

But Bolton’s injuries and Anton Walkes’ travails have put the right-back scenario back under microscope with Ross McCrorie’s impressive cameo at Sunderland followed by wholesale defensive carnage on Tuesday night.

We withhold judgement on the Shrewsbury man at this formative stage, but there’s no doubt the outcome is currently a downgrade and growing headache in the position.